USAID and other development programs the U.S. employs can have a tangible effect—if not solving, then mitigating these crises. “USAID’s democracy and governance programs that support public awareness, research, public administration, advocacy, and the adoption and enforcement of laws and policies can help countries prepare for and cope with climate change,” said Moore. USAID will work with civil society groups across the African continent to ensure that local traditions are respected and utilized, even while bringing new approaches to solving health, economic and environmental problems. “Without effective adaptation to climate change, Africa will only see the contributors to hunger, disease, and conflict increase. But if we work together to address climate change across every sector, we can forge a way forward that not only prepares Africa’s most vulnerable people to cope with new pressures, but also creates better opportunities, better living conditions, and better lives.” That’s good for Africa—and good for Americans here at home.
Another witness, Jonathon Pershing, the Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, noted that the President’s FY2011 Budget requests about $1.4 billion for international climate efforts, to be spent through the Department of State, Department of Treasury, and USAID. He said that approximately 20% of State and USAID climate assistance funds in FY2010, and around 30% of the total in the FY2011 Budget, will benefit African countries.